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Written by Dr. Dan Williams Friday, 21 February 2014 00:00

Black History Month

This is the time of year when Mud cloth and Kente cloth patterns emerge within churches as celebrants of Black history reflect on collective and individual accomplishments historically.

It was Carter G. Woodson as a student at Harvard, who established the observance of “Negro History Week”, designated for the second week in February. He purposefully linked the week to the birthdays of President Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, the African American abolitionist. The week’s acceptance and continuing recognition ultimately became known as “Black History Month.”

Celebrations within some African American congregations still occur to identify and commemorate the role members of the African Diaspora played in the development of our nation. John Henry Clarke suggests that history “tells a people who they are and where they come from and where they are going” and affirms that history is always current.

Maybe it’s time to end the celebration.

 

Written by R. Todd Mangum Wednesday, 19 February 2014 11:22

Michael Dunn Murder Trial

Jordan Davis and Shadows of Trayvon Martin: Some Comments from a Theological Perspective

This past week, a jury convicted Michael Dunn of three counts of second degree murder, but deadlocked on the count of first degree murder. Michael Dunn is the Florida man who fired ten shots into an SVU full of teenage boys, killing one of them. Apparently, the shooting followed an argument that started over Dunn’s objecting to the loud music coming from the van in a gas station parking lot. Oh, and did I mention? Dunn is white; the teenage boys, black.

This has become another case, like the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case less than a year ago (also in Florida), in which different reactions to the case have fallen along racial lines — African Americans voicing alignment with the victims of the shooting, whites urging “caution” or even sympathy for the perception of threat to the one doing the shooting.

   

Written by Bryan Maier Monday, 17 February 2014 00:00

Valentines cards

Being a marriage counselor requires a certain ability to see beyond someone’s words and into their heart. Thus as a public service (and since I will not be receiving or sending any Valentines this year) I would like to provide an interpretive key to the valentines you may have received recently. I have already shared this list with my students for several years, but now I want give it as a gift to the readers of this blog.

Valentine’s Day (regardless of its origins which is a very interesting story) provides a mandated space and time to remind the love of your life that you have not changed your feelings about them since February 13. In this online age, buying a gift has become as easy as clicking a mouse. However, along with the gift, the literary expectation has not been dropped (i.e. people still want words). This is where it gets tricky.

   

Written by R. Todd Mangum Friday, 14 February 2014 00:00

sex love God

Philip Yancey suggests that the blessing of marital love — including the pleasures of sex — is one of the strongest indicators we have of a Creator God who loves the human beings He’s made, and who is breath-takingly skilled in the kinds of good gifts He crafts for them, too. In the scheduling for the faculty blogs, I just happened to draw Valentine’s Day — so I thought I’d float some theological thoughts about love and marriage, sex and intimate relationships today.

Sex and intimacy are integrally related — or at least were designed by God to be. In our narcissistic, hedonistic, hyper-sexualized culture, though, people too often seek to separate the two, with the thought that sex can be enjoyed without the baggage of “relationship.” That’s a lie. But it’s a lie with a lure to it — and is therefore causing pain and destruction amongst people in our culture on a spectrum from humiliating devastation (at its worst) to a numbing sense of protective, unfeeling cynicism (at best). One by-product of the Fall, Genesis tells us, is that Adam and Eve noticed their nakedness . . . and shame replaced what was previously unmitigated exhilaration.

   

Written by R. Todd Mangum Wednesday, 12 February 2014 00:00

missional leadership

What difference does being missional make for organizational leadership? (There’s actually a whole stream of literature on this question, with more stuff still coming out regularly.)

It’s not an easy question — in that, transforming an organization or institution requires change. And make no mistake: the church is an organization (as well as a body or family); just like a seminary is a higher education institution, as well as a ministry training ground. And change does not happen spontaneously, nor does it come naturally to people — and it is people who make up organizations.

Change requires vision. But there are real liabilities to a single “visionary leader” seeing him-or-herself as the change agent. You may have seen instances yourself in which a leader has flashed and fizzled in either burnout or throw-out. I have seen this happen to a couple of our own graduates even. The literature on the subject warns against this, too.

   

Written by Larry Anderson Monday, 10 February 2014 11:47

...in order to change the world.

spheres of influence

In Os Hillman’s book Change Agent, he states: “If we are to impact any nation for Jesus Christ, then we will have to affect the seven spheres or mountains of society…These seven mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family, and religion.” Hillman goes on to say: “It is important to have conversions, but it is more important to have those who are converted operate at the tops of the cultural mountains from a biblical worldview.” These are some challenging words that I fully support.

When we look at each sphere of influence, it’s easy to see how in the realm of business, the abolishment of the ‘Blue Laws’ did away with Sunday as a day unto the Lord. This had a direct impact on our culture. We witnessed how systemic racism and oppressions can dictate who receives loans, jobs, and promotions. The rules of engagement continue to lack integrity and rules to silence any godly communication or celebration are being banded.

   

Written by Stephanie Lowery Friday, 07 February 2014 12:48

Kenya is 50

The East African country of Kenya just celebrated 50 years of independence in December! Take a minute or two to check out these amazing photos of the country, then you won’t wonder why I love it. Okay, so most people reading this probably didn’t celebrate Kenya’s jubilee, but if you think about it, 50 years is a big milestone for a young nation.

What was the U.S. doing in 1826?

Having an eggnog riot. Yep, you read that right.

So be patient with young countries [see through 1:17] and don’t underestimate them.

You may have missed the news about the 50th anniversary celebrations in Kenya; did you miss news of the bombing at Westgate mall in Nairobi last fall?

   

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